Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the spirit of the LORD, or as his counselor has instructed him? Whom did he consult for his enlightenment, and who taught him the path of justice? Who taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as dust on the scales; see, he takes up the isles like fine dust. Lebanon would not provide fuel enough, nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? An idol?—A workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains. As a gift one chooses mulberry wood—wood that will not rot—then seeks out a skilled artisan to set up an image that will not topple. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Isaiah 40:12-23
I have been thinking recently about water and baptism. Yesterday at All Saints' Church in Farmington, we heard the Gospel reading from Mark about the baptism of Jesus. He went down into the water and when he came back up things had changed. Water is so much a part of life, in fact necessary for life, and many of the major Gospel stories revolve around water. Water changing into wine, an encounter with a woman at the well which changed her whole community - so much of our faith stories surrounded by water. Isaiah reminds us that God measures the water by hand, a very tactile and real reminder of the full engagement of God in the very basic needs of our lives. God's hand touching the water we were baptized with, changing us forever into the children of God.
Today, as I work in snowy Helena, I am grateful for the reminders of water all around. May we be grateful for the waters of blessing, the source and sustenance of life. And may we remember that God has touched those same waters and made us children, embedded in the tribe and family of God forever.